Nunawading and District Lapidary Club

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The club provides basic training in many of the lapidary arts. You can do basic through to advanced training with a variety of volunteer trainers, taking advantage of their many years of experience. Most of our trainers have been involved in lapidary for many years and have won many Australian competitions.

MAKING GEMSTONES FROM GEM MATERIALS

Nature does not produce Gemstones. Nature provides the material from which we can create Gemstones. The craft of fashioning Gemstones is LAPIDARY. You may wish to learn this craft, and through our training courses and use of the facilities you will be able to learn several ways of developing your Lapidary skills.

You may encounter words and terms that are not familiar at first, and wonder how to distinguish one type of Lapidary from another. As an aid, the Australian Federation of Lapidary & Allied Crafts Associations his produced the Competitor & Judging Manual for Lapidary & Allied Competitions. While this is geared to competitions, it contains definitions of some 25 different ways of fashioning gemstones, plus definitions for Jewellery, Metalcraft, Enamelling and much more.

The following extracts from this Manual, plus comments, will hopefully give you an idea of the variety of ways you can cut and use gemstones.

HANDCUT STONES: These can all be cut on the equipment in the Cabochon room at the Club.

CABOCHON CUTS

A Cabochon is a domed handcut stone as defined for any of the following 4 styles:

Standard Cabochon: A stone of circular or oval shape, when viewed from the top, having a symmetrically domed curved top, flat back, back bevel and a girdle line.

Fancy Cabochon: Any Cabochon, not round or oval. May be geometrical, metrical or irregular outline shape with flat back, back bevel and a girdle line.

Double Standard Cabochon: A stone of circular or oval shape, when viewed from the top, with symmetrical curved domed surfaces either side of the girdle line

Double Fancy Cabochon: Any Double Cabochon, not round or oval. May be geometrical, symmetrical or irregular outline shape.

FREE FORM CUTS

Free Form: Any handcut stone of geometrical or irregular outline shape not covered by other definitions.

OPAL CUTS

Opal Doublet: A solid layer of opal showing characteristic play of colour, cemented to a backing of opal or other natural material.

Opal Triplet: A solid layer of opal showing characteristic play of colour, cemented to a backing like the Doublet, with a cemented colourless curved top. Must have a flat back, back bevel and a girdle line which must be in the colourless top.

TUMBLED STONES:

Tumbling is a process of polishing stones in a continuously revolving barrel that contains grinding or polishing grit. By reducing the size of the grit over time you can round off and then polish stones. Stones can be polished 'as found' or preformed. The club does not provide facilities for Tumbling because it is not practicable to have enough machines, or space, for members to process their own load of stones (a process which can take up to 8 weeks from start to finish). Duty officers will be happy to give you advice on Tumbling, but you will need to have your own machinery.

OTHER GENERAL LAPIDARY:

The Manual includes definitions for the following Lapidary items: Carving, Cameo, Intaglio, Scrimshaw, Sphere, Ovoid, Mosaic, Inlay, Polished faces, Gem Trees and Novelty Gemcraft.

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FACET CUTS:

A faceted stone is a (usually) transparent stone on which a number of small flat surfaces have been cut and polished. You can use the Club machines after taking our Facet Course. There are four groups of facet cuts defined in the Manual, which gives more detail on the basic definitions below

Standard Brilliant with Continuous Girdle: This is a round 58‑Facet stone with 41 Meets.

Standard Brilliant with Faceted Girdle: This is a round 73‑ Facet stone with 57 Meets.

Standard Oblong Step Cut with Cut Corners: Often called the Emerald Cut, this is a rectangular stone with 3 rows of Facets on the Crown and 3 rows of Facets on the Pavilion. It has 53 facets and 44 Meets.

Standard Square Step Cut with Cut Corners: This is a square stone with 3 rows of facets each on the Crown and Pavilion. This has 53 Facets and 45 Meets.

Modified Standard Cuts: Any cut, other than a Standard Cut, which has a flat table, a crown, girdle and pavilion.

Fancy Cuts: Any other faceted stone not covered by the definitions of Standard or Modified Standard Cuts.

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TRAINING FOR MEMBERS

The Club provides training courses for members at times published in the bi-monthly Gemform and/or listed on the club’s notice boards.

The club strongly recommends early participation in these activities to learn the correct use and maintenance of the workroom equipment and to advance your knowledge and skills in each of the particular disciplines you wish to pursue.

All training is held in the clubrooms and conducted by experienced members on a voluntary basis. A club fee is payable in each case.

THE FOLLOWING COURSES ARE AVAILABLE.

  • CABOCHON.

BASIC TRAINING   (for beginners)     

COURSE A: - You will learn to shape and polish a standard single sided cabochon stone.

COURSE B: - You will concentrate on cutting techniques while working a second stone similar to above.

Generally Course A and B are coupled as one activity, firstly using a hard stone such as ribbon stone or petrified wood in one course and a brittle stone like opalite or obsidian in the other.

ADVANCED TRAINING

CABOCHON C: - This covers more intricate styles of cabochon shapes and includes double sided and fancy outlined stones. Two will be completed and one at least will incorporate an internal curve.

OPAL: - Course C should be completed prior to attempting this discipline. Again two stones to be completed and will consist of a solid, doublet or triplet

  • FACETING. (for beginners)

Courses are subject to the availability of an instructor and a faceting machine.  The course covers the care, maintenance and operation of the machine and you will be taught to cut a standard round brilliant stone from a clear quartz material.

It is recommended that you cut a second stone under supervision to ensure you understand the cutting and polishing techniques necessary for other patterns and styles.

  • JEWELLERY

BASIC TRAINING: - (for beginners)

Learn the use of tools, equipment and basic methods in the fabrication of one item in sterling Silver.   The instructor sets the project and takes the trainee through the procedures of piercing, soldering, pickling and polishing.
Members need to complete this course before using the workroom and equipment unsupervised.

ADVANCED TRAINING.

When available, a skilled instructor will support a fabrication project of the member's choice.  You must be practiced in the basic skills to participate in this activity.

CASTING.

This is usually a two-session course using the lost wax method and caters for a maximum of two items in sterling Silver Basic jewellery skills are also used in the finishing of the cast items.

ENAMELLING.

Short courses are arranged subject to demand.  Pigments are laid on copper or silver and are fired by either torch or kiln methods.

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Tanzanite (theimage.com)

Beryl (theimage.com)

Club cabochon display

Club cabochon room

Emerald (Victorian Museum VGCA fund)

Amethyst (Victorian Museum VGCA fund)

Quartz (Smithsonian)

Sapphires (Smithsonian)

Club faceting machine

Natrolite, Flinder Vic. (NDLC member collection GJ)

Rhodonite, Broken Hill NSW. (NDLC member collection GJ)